No place like home for 4 Gaels commits

Gaels add four local commits to their 2018 class.

Playing for your hometown team is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and it was something that offensive lineman Laurenio Sousa, wide receiver Matt McDonald, defensive lineman Tyson Fletcher and linebacker Jacob Jefferies from Holy Cross Catholic Secondary School couldn’t look past when they signed with the Queen’s Gaels.

Laurenio Sousa

When Laurenio Sousa steps onto the field with the Gaels, he will be penning another chapter in the rich history of the team. “I am just really excited to get started and follow in the footsteps of other Holy Cross lineman that went to Queen’s and had amazing careers,” he said.

“I chose to commit to Queens because it was the best option for me. I love the idea of being a hometown player and being able to give back to my own community,” he added.

Living in the same city as your future school has plenty of advantages, one of which is being able to scout the coaching staff. “They are very down-to-earth kind of men,” Sousa said of the Gaels coaches. “Head Coach Sheahan has so much experience at this level and I know he will be able to share what he has learned with me.”

He added that, “I am also super excited about getting to work with Coach Shawn Gifford as I have heard many great things about him and I know exactly what he expects out of his guys which is nothing less than 100%.”

Academically, Sousa, who will potentially be majoring in psychology, said that “Queen’s is one of the more prestigious universities in the world.”

Standing at a towering 6’7, 310lbs, Sousa has spent four years with the Holy Cross Crusaders (KASSAA) and two with the Limestone District Grenadiers (OPFL). He is a three-time KASSAA champion in 2014, 2015 and 2017.

Matt McDonald

Starting at a young age, Matt McDonald has been involved with Gaels sports. “With Queen’s being in my hometown, ever since I was young I was always participating in Queen’s sports camps. Growing up watching the Tri-Colour play football was a great experience as a young lad and something I’ve always wanted to be apart of,” he said.

In grade ten, McDonald had the opportunity to attend Queen’s football camp. It was his first meeting with the coaches. “In the three-day camp I learned a lot about football and if I can learn and improve that much in three days, I believe in five years working with the coaching staff that they can make me an incredible athlete.”

He added that, “Head Coach Sheehan has been with Queen’s for a long time and it will be an honour to play for him.”

Interested in concurrent education, McDonald would like to return to his high school to teach math and coach football. He knows his new school will set him up for success. “Queen’s was just the perfect fit,” he said. “It is a prestigious university, which is something I value a lot.”

Starting in grade eight, McDonald has played with the Grenadiers up until grade 13. He also spent five years with the Crusaders. The 5’11, 188lbs athlete has played a variety of positions, including slotback, wide receiver, punt and kickoff returner and H-back. He is a three-time KASSAA champion. In 2016, he was an OVFL provincial finalist. Last year, he was named as an offensive MVP.

When he’s not on the gridiron, McDonald can be found playing either hockey, badminton, lacrosse or bowling. He also enjoys playing guitar and hanging out with his friends.

Tyson Fletcher

Tyson Fletcher won’t be the first member of his family to attend Queen’s. His mother is a Gaels alumnus. “She had no complaints, so it seemed like the best destination,” he said. “The coaching staff along with the state-of-the-art facilities made it impossible to turn down along with the world-class academics.”

Fletcher, who is interested in economics, added that he thinks the coaching staff is excellent. “The training they give the players gives them all possible advantages to be the best they can be and compete at the highest level they can,” he said.

In his eight-year career, Fletcher, who is 6’3, 235lbs, has played in the OPP Minor Football League and was a member of the Crusaders. He is a three-time city champion with the Crusaders and was nominated four times for his school’s athlete of the year award. In 2017, he came in second in Canada for wrestling in the 100kg weight class.

“I’d like to thank my family for all the support they’ve given me throughout my life, attending several games whether it be football, hockey, track and field, rugby, lacrosse or my wrestling matches,” Fletcher said, “and all my coaches who always believed in me and pushed me to be the best in any sport.”

Fletcher gave a special shout-out to his football coaches Corbin, Jefferies, Jasmines, Pendergast, White and Hunter, along with his wrestling coaches Marcus and Ashley Nieman, for “not only helping me develop athletically, but also as a person.”

Jacob Jefferies

Jacob Jefferies, who is also from Kingston, Ontario, played with the Crusaders and Grenadiers in high school. He is 6’2, 228lbs.

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